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7Jan

Foreign Adoptions Down

Each year thousands of Americans seeking to add to their families by adoption look overseas to fulfill their desires. However, this route is becoming increasingly difficult. In the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, foreign adoptions were down by more than a quarter from the previous year.

China, the major source of foreign adoptions by Americans, is more and more focusing on domestic adoptions and has imposed stringent requirements for people outside the country. Russia, too, is promoting adoption at home. Guatemala has closed its borders to foreign adoption while reforms to the system are being made and it is not certain when Americans can again adopt from the country.

Hopefully, Americans thwarted in their efforts to adopt internationally will look homeward to the 130,000 children in the United States now languishing in foster care waiting to find “forever” homes. 1600 of them are in the Delaware Valley.

These are usually not infants and many families may be reluctant to take on the care and raising of children whose ideas and attitudes have already been formed. The majority of these children are school age and many of them are teens. However, they desire and deserve the same kind of attention and love showered on infants or younger children. Some of them are siblings who need to be adopted together.

Adoptive parents do not need to have a specific income and they do not need to own their own homes. Many of the children are eligible for financial subsidy. Please contact us if you would like more information about adopting children out of the foster care system. Call today for a free packet of information, 215-735-9988 or visit us at www.adopt.org

4Jan

Wendy's Key Tag Program

 

Adoption and the AdoptionCenter have no better friend then Wendy’s. And there’s no better way to show your support of Adoption then by stopping by your nearest Philadelphia-area Wendy’s location and purchasing a Frosty Key Tag for $1.00. Then show your key tag and get a free Junior Frosty with any purchase for all of 2010. Proceeds benefit theAdoption Center and will help us match more vulnerable children with their forever families then ever before! Thank you Wendy’s! 

23Dec

Last Post of the Year

2009 has been a busy year at the Center. We've had multiple match parties, with great kids and potential parents in three different states! We've had Freddie Mac Foundation's Wednesday's Child tapings most weeks. These feature Vai Sikahema of NBC-10 interviewing and usually playing alongside one of our youths waiting for a permanent home. We built and launched a new website to support this thriving, national program.

We also launched AdoptMatch, our online matching program that brings families together with the adoption agency appropriate for them. Mainly regional to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, in 2010 we will roll this out across the country.

AdoptSpeak.org, our online community, is also a thriving place to get and share information and support regarding adoption. Thanks so much for all those who contribute to the conversations there! We also wanted to thank all of our readers and contributers for a fun year of blogging.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season! See you in 2010! 

21Dec

Wendy's Wonderful Christmas Blog

Jowelle doesn’t know it yet, but later this week she is going to receive an Ipod Nano, itunes giftcard, earrings and bracelets for Christmas. She is a Wendy’s Wonderful Kid, and will be getting these gifts from a local Wendy’s franchise owner who decided to help give our kids a great Christmas. With the help of very generous Wendy’s owners in the area, every child on our Delaware and Southern New Jersey caseload is going to receive presents for Christmas.

I can’t stop smiling when I deliver these presents to the children, who are all very excited to get exactly what they asked for on their Christmas list. While it is fun to see the children opening their presents, it also makes me sad to realize that this is the 2nd year Jowelle is getting gifts for being a part of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kid’s program. That means a whole year has gone by with Jowelle in the foster care system just waiting to be adopted. Jowelle is an amazing teenager who deserves to spend her next Christmas with her Forever Family, rather than in a foster home.

 

Next year I hope there will be a whole new set of children to buy presents for. Hopefully, all of our current children will have found their new permanent families and will be spending their first Christmas together. If you would like to be a Forever Family for any of our Wendy’s Wonderful Kid’s, please contact me at acressman@adopt.org or call 215-735-9988 ext. 319. Happy Holidays to everyone and have a good New Year!
17Dec

Good TV for a Change

Another plug for the 11th annual “A Home for the Holidays with Faith Hill” will air Wednesday, December 23 at 8 PM n CBS. The entertainment special will feature celebrities and inspirational stories about foster care adoption. The program is presented in association with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children’s Action Network.

Thomas, who was adopted, established the Dave Thomas Foundation in 1992. It is dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 129,000 children in North America's foster care systems waiting for permanent, loving homes. Through the Foundation’s Wendy's Wonderful Kids (WWK) program, recruiters are working for children in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and throughout Canada. The Adoption Center of Delaware Valley is a WWK agency in the Philadelphia region.

The Children’s Action Network was founded in 1990 by leaders in the entertainment industry committed to using the power of the media to inform the public about the needs of children and to make children a top priority in American life.

The special will include moving performances by five-time Grammy Award winner and Academy of Country Music (ACM) Award winner Faith Hill, who headlines for the second time, Grammy Award-winning singer Mary J. Blige, musician and featured adoptee Michael Franti, Grammy and ACM Award-winning country superstar Reba McEntire, Grammy Award-winning Latin pop singer Shakira and Grammy and ACM Award-winning star Carrie Underwood, among others. Jenna Elfman ("Accidentally on Purpose") and Nia Vardalos ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding") are among the celebrities presenting inspirational stories about adoption.

Jenna Elfman, Nia Vardalos and other celebrities whose lives have been touched by adoption or who are involved with children’s issues, will present story segments about adoptive families. 

14Dec

AdoptAChild

We have found that a large part of what we do is public awareness. Letting people know that there are children waiting for permanent homes in foster care. Letting people know that these children are just children like any others, deserving of love and a family. We have done this for over 30 years through newspaper articles, television, radio broadcasts and websites. Now we are proud to have ventured into mobile communications with an iPhone App. This is a freely available app and can be found through the App Store or click here.

The main goal is to raise public awareness about our mission: there are no unwanted children, just unfound families. We hope to draw more people to our resources, such as our photolistings, our course on adoption from foster care and our forum, AdoptSpeak.org. Overall, we want to find families for all of the children currently waiting for a place to call home. 

11Dec

A Home for the Holidays

Happy Friday Everyone!

I wanted to share a story with you that truly touches my heart and inspires the true meaning of Christmas. Today I attended a team meeting for a teen on my caseload. This teen (whom I will refer to as “Charles”) does not have a family to call his own. What he does have is a support staff that cares for him, and a special friend (whom I will refer to as “Matthew”). Charles and Matthew are in similar situations; both are teenagers in foster care, both were previously living in the same residential placement, but Matthew recently moved into a foster home. Knowing that Charles would not have a family to spend the holidays with, Matthew asked his foster parents if Charles could spend Christmas day with his new foster family. Matthew was so heartfelt and sincere with his request, that his foster parents agreed to have Charles be their guest for the day. Both boys are excited because they will have a home for the holiday.

A Home for the Holidays is presented by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Children's Action Network, and sponsored by Wendy's. Now in its 11th year, the special will feature Faith Hill and include performances by Shakira, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood. Nia Vardolos and Jenna Elfman are among the celebrities who will present inspirational stories of extraordinary families formed through foster care adoption.

Please tune in to watch this special event and consider opening up your home, not just for the holidays, but everyday, by adopting a child from foster care. 

7Dec

Academic Success

According to studies, almost 800,000 children in the United States spend time in foster care each year. These children may change foster homes once or twice a year. Often these moves mean also changing schools. Because of this, it can be hard for them to make significant educational progress. Frequently, they experience delays in enrolling in a new school or difficulties in transferring credits from one school to another. As a result, many foster children lag behind their classmates, lose hope and drop out of school.

To address this problem, in 2008 Congress enacted the Fostering Connections to Success Act—a child welfare law, which, among other things, aims to improve the school stability of foster children. On November 19, 2009 U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a bill providing additional resources:

Fostering Success in Education Act, promoting school stability and success for foster children by:

• Forbidding states from segregating foster children by forcing them to attend separate, and often inferior schools, unless it is documented that particular foster children have disabilities that must be addressed in alternative educational settings under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

• Requiring each state Department of Education to designate a foster care coordinator to collaborate with the state child welfare agency.

• Requiring states to create a process for resolving disputes about whether it is in a foster child’s best interest to remain in a particular school after moving to a new school district.

• Requiring states to develop systems to ensure that foster children can transfer and recover credits when they change schools, and that foster children who have attended multiple high schools with different graduation requirements can graduate.

• Providing states, school districts, and child welfare agencies with funding to improve the educational stability of foster children.

In Philadelphia a charter school for high school students who are involved in the foster care system opened this year. Arise Academyseeks to offer rigorous academics along with the social supports needed by these students. Both of these programs show the importance of ensuring that all of our children have a chance to get a good education.

2Dec

Public Hearings - Philadelphia Foster Care

While everyone is recovering from Thanksgiving and making preparations for the holidays, the Adoption Center is planning for critically important Public Hearings. We have been asked to testify before the Joint Committee on Public Health and Human Services and Legislative Oversight on adoption and foster care policies and programs in the City of Philadelphia. We hope to explore ways to improve the process by decreasing wait times, implementing strategies to reduce the number of children that age out of the system and address concerns that discourage people from considering adoption.

The hearing will occur on Tuesday December 15 at 10:00AM in Philadelphia City Council Chambers (City Hall Room 400).

Staff, volunteers, and adoptive parents representing the National Adoption Center/Adoption Center of Delaware Valley will provide testimony as to their experiences with “the system” and recommending changes that would help expedite increased adoptions of our most vulnerable children and youth.

We invite you to be present at these hearings. If you cannot attend, we encourage you to write a letter/e-mail describing your own experiences, or those of someone you know along with any recommendations you may have. Please send your correspondence directly to me and it will be distributed to the Committee prior to the hearings.

In Pennsylvania alone there are 20,000 children in foster care with an average stay of more then 2 years (and sometimes as many as 6) in multiple homes. Every year more then 1,000 “age out” without a permanent family. Please send us your thoughts (email to nac@adopt.org) to include in the meeting. You may also leave any comments in the comments section below. We’ll provide an update in January. 

30Nov

Celebrations for All

Last week in the US we celebrated Thanksgiving. Traditionally this is the kickoff to the holiday season and the many celebrations held at this time of year. Whatever your background, most of the celebrations revolve around family and home. It goes without saying that for some this can be a very difficult time of year. For us, this time of year serves to reinforce our mission -- that all children deserve a family, not just at holiday time, but all year long. 

Here we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving with our “NAC family” and have lunch together this year. We all contributed a dish and there was a cornucopia of good food to share and enjoy. We also shared our thoughts about what we were thankful for this year. Most of us shared their thanks for family, friends and co-workers and their satisfaction with the work we do for on behalf of children and families. You can visit our social network, AdoptSpeak, at www.adopt.org to see photos of our Thanksgiving. From our “NAC family” to yours, we wish you a very holiday season full of peace and joy. 

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